DFL-endorsed candidate Clark Johnson won a four-way special primary election on Tuesday, securing his place in a general election contest next month for a Mankato area House seat.
Johnson, a professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, won the House District 19A primary race with about 66 percent of the DFL vote, or 641 total votes. Farmer Karl Johnson came in second place with 26 percent of the vote, while St. Peter Mayor Tim Strand and educator Robin Courrier each garnered about 5 percent of the vote or less. The primary drew just over 1,100 voters, or about 4 percent of the district’s registered voters.
The primary contest was mainly a formality for Democrats, necessitated by the fact that their endorsing convention last weekend came after the deadline for removing any additional names from the primary ballot.
Johnson will now head to a special general election on Feb. 12 to fill the House seat vacated by DFL Rep. Terry Morrow, who left to take a national lobbying job in Chicago. He will face former Republican House Rep. Allen Quist, who ran an unsuccessful congressional campaign last fall against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, and Independence Party candidate Tim Gieseke.
The special general race is heating up; U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has been raising money on behalf of Quist, whose wife used to work for the congresswoman, and 2010 Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner has pledged to support Gieseke. Gov. Mark Dayton will be in the district on the eve of the special general election to rally students at Gustavus Adolphus College to get out the vote.